| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Criminal Activity During Florida Hurricanes

In the last five years, Florida residents have experienced severe hurricane seasons. Nearly every summer, Florida residents worry about evacuations and making their homes hurricane proof. In addition to worrying about physical safety, Florida residents also worry about hurricane looting and theft. While Hurricane Dorian descended on the eastern United States, the police were out in large numbers in an attempt to prevent looting and theft.   Experienced Florida Defense Attorneys At Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law, we represent defendants in criminal matters throughout Orlando and the surrounding areas. If you have been charged with a burglary or theft crime, we can help. The penalties for looting or committing theft during a state of emergency are more severe than in normal circumstances. Contact our Central Florida criminal defense law firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.  Those Who Commit Crimes During a State of Emergency Face Enhanced Penalties Police have already arrested several residents for looting and theft during Hurricane Dorian. Police found three men stealing sandbags from a construction site. Many Florida police officers patrol Florida streets during evacuations. The Volusia County Sheriff’s office issued many warnings that prosecutors pursue enhanced penalties for crimes committed during a state of emergency. When the Florida governor declares a state of emergency, theft crimes may become classified as one degree higher in severity. If someone commits a second-degree grand theft crime, they will face a first-degree charge of grand theft. Defendants only face enhanced charges when the state of emergency facilitated their crime. In other words, the state of emergency must give the defendant the opportunity to commit the crime. If someone knows that houses in his or her neighborhood because of evacuation and breaks into those houses because they are empty, the state of emergency facilitated his crime. In this case, the defendant could face an enhanced criminal charge and sentence. Categories of Florida Theft Crimes Florida criminal laws separate theft crimes into two categories — petit theft and grand theft. Florida defines theft as taking the property of another person with the intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the right to the property or appropriate the property. Petit theft is the unlawful taking of any property valued at less than $750. Petit theft of the second degree requires that the defendant take property worth less than $100.  Defendants convicted of petit theft of the second degree may receive penalties any combination of six months in jail, a fine of $500 or six months of probation. If the defendant had a prior theft conviction or take property valued between $100 and $750, he or she may face a year in jail, a year of probation, or a fine of up to $1,000. Florida divides grand theft into three different degrees. A charge of grand theft of the first degree is extremely serious. The sentence for this crime can include a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.  If You are Facing a Florida Theft Crime Charge, We can Help Facing a theft crime charge is serious, especially if the alleged crime occurred during a state of emergency. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf. Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Understanding Expungements and Sealed Records

When we are young, we tend to be wild and free. Most youth do not question nor consider the impact of that their actions presently will have on their future. However, youthful bliss and its carefree nature can leave you with life altering consequences. For instance when you are arrested and/or charged with a crime you will have a criminal record. Criminal records follow you a lifetime, and often times are the reason you are turned down from job opportunities, housing, as well as professional licensing. Though you may be frustrated or even feeling like you cannot progress in life because of your criminal record, there may still be hope. If you or a loved one have been unable to progress in life because of your criminal record contact an experienced Florida expungement attorney today to consult about your record. Expungements vs. Sealed Records in Florida Those who have a criminal record know how hard it is to get jobs and even housing and though this can be frustrating, options do exist. In Florida, you have the right to have your criminal record expunged or sealed. Expungements are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.0585 , while sealed records are governed by Florida Statute Section 943.059. Though you may think differently, expungements and sealed records are not the same thing and depending on which one you receive determines who can see your criminal record and who cannot. If your criminal record has been dismissed, if the charges were dropped or if there was no information filed then you may be eligible to get your record expunged, meaning the court will order the clerk, the arresting agency and FDLE to destroy the arrest records. This can be extremely beneficial to you because it should appear that your past actions never happened at all. When your record is sealed, the public, such as landlords and employers, do not have access to your record but governmental agencies will have access to it. It is important to note, that if you have previously had your record expunged or sealed, whether in Florida or another state, you will not be eligible for another expungement or seal. Though expungement and seal laws may seem straightforward, it can become quite complicated; therefore, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice. Need Legal Advice? Having a criminal record could make your life more difficult when you are maturing and progressing in life. Criminal records can keep you from getting a job, obtaining housing, as well as keep you from your inherent rights such as voting or owning a firearm. Frustrating as it may be, you have options. If you or a loved one would like your criminal record expunged or sealed, it is best to speak with an attorney about your case. Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Prison & Sentencing

A 15-Block Crime Scene Started as a Robbery

A robbery, shooting, and a few car crashes recently resulted in a 15-block crime scene in North Miami-Dade. The commotion happened at a trailer park near Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 136th Street. The shooting was retaliation for a robbery that happened a few days earlier, when a 14-year-old girl was robbed of her gold chain. Local residents reported that the same people who robbed the girl tried to commit another robbery. The unsuccessful robbery escalated into a shooting and the pair took off. The suspects were fleeing north on Biscayne Boulevard when their black Lexus collided with an SUV. North Miami Beach law enforcement caught the pair. The incident is under investigation, however, and the suspects may both face robbery charges. While all robberies may not end in a car crash and a large crime scene, it is important that those facing robbery charges understand the crime and what a conviction could mean for their futures. What is Robbery? Robbery crimes include a wide vary of criminal actions ranging from the snatching of a purse from an unaware victim to the armed entry of a home with intent to take property by force. Under Florida law robbery occurs when an accused takes money or other property from someone else with the intent to deprive that person, temporarily or permanently, of his or her property, and the accused uses force, violence, or assault while committing the crime. Robberies are punishable as felonies under the law. Sentences range from five years to life in prison, depending on the different factors that may enhance the sentence. Enhancing Sentences Firearms and Deadly Weapons When looking at punishment for robbery crimes, it is important to keep in mind that the punishment for robbery may depend on whether the accused was carrying a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon. The presence of a firearm, deadly weapon, or other weapon will mean that a prosecutor has the option of requesting an enhanced penalty. The punishments for robbery include: First Degree Felony Robbery: If during the course of committing the crime the accused carried a weapon, then they may face a charge first degree felony punishable with up to thirty years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Strong Arm Robbery or Second Degree Felony Robbery: If while committing the robbery the accused was not carrying a firearm, deadly weapon, or other type of weapon, then they may face a second degree felony charge punishable with up to fifteen years in prison and a $15,000 fine. Let an Attorney Help With Robbery Charges Robbery charges are serious and an accusation can lead to serious impact on one’s life. These accusation could lead to even more serious consequences if a prosecutor believes that he or she has a basis for enhancing the sentence. If you have been accused of robbery, contact Moses & Rooth. We can help you understand potential sentence enhancements and develop the best strategy for defending you in court. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Understanding Florida’s Shoplifting Laws

Many people believe that shoplifting is a minor inconsequential crime that is not taken very seriously by the justice system. However, shoplifting is a form of theft; and depending on the amount stolen, those convicted of shoplifting face significant consequences. While the consequences for shoplifting may seem minor compared to more serious crimes, the consequences of a shoplifting charge/conviction may affect the life of the accused for a lifetime. What is Shoplifting? Shoplifting is known as retail theft under Florida law. Retail theft occurs when a person: Takes possession of or carries away the property of a merchant; Alters labels or price tags; Transfers merchandise from one container to another; or Removes a shopping cart; with Intent to deprive a merchant of possession, use, benefit, or full retail value. Merchants who suspect a person is shoplifting may detain the person in a reasonable manner for a reasonable amount of time in an effort to retrieve the merchandise and prosecute the suspect. Punishment for Shoplifting The consequences and penalties for shoplifting under Florida law depend on the value of the items: First Degree Grand Theft: if the items stolen are worth $100,000 or more, then the charge may be First Degree Grand Theft. This is a first-degree felony that has a maximum penalty of thirty years in prison and fines totaling $10,000. Second Degree Grand Theft: if the items stolen are worth between $20,000 and $99,999, then the accused will be changed with Second Degree Grand Theft. This is a second-degree felony that has a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison and fines totaling $10,000. 3rd Degree Grand Theft: if the stolen items are worth between $300 and $19,999, then the accused will be changed with Third Degree Grand Theft. This is a third degree felony that has a maximum penalty of five years in jail and fines totaling $5,000. If the items stoles are a firearm, car, live stock, 2,000 or more pieces of fruit, a traffic sign or construction signs. First Degree Petit Theft: if the stolen items are worth between $100 and $299, then the accused will be charged with First Degree Petit Theft. This is a first-degree misdemeanor that has a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if the accused was previously convicted twice of any theft crime, then the charge will be a third degree felony. Second Degree Petit Theft: if the stolen items are worth less than $100, then the accused will be charged with a Second Degree Misdemeanor, which has a maximum sentence of sixty days in jail and a $500 fine. Seek Help from an Attorney While public perception is that shoplifting is not a serious crime, the criminal justice system takes shoplifting very seriously. A shoplifting conviction will follow a defendant for their entire life. If you are facing a shoplifting charge, you need legal advice, contact Moses & Rooth. We can work with you to develop a plea bargain or argue for restitution or dismissal. Please contact us today at 407-377-0150 to schedule an appointment.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Orlando’s Puppy Thief

A woman was recently arrested for stealing a puppy in Orlando. The puppy was a $1,295 Yorkie that was up for sale at an Orlando pet store. The surveillance video from the store depicts the woman taking the puppy from a cage. After the woman saw the surveillance video on television she returned the puppy by placing it in a dumpster behind the store. She thought that if she returned the dog, she would not have to face criminal charges. The owner of the puppy store plans on pressing charges in hopes that this will prevent any future theft. In Florida, there are certain factors that a prosecutor must prove in order to convict a person of theft. Theft in Florida According to Florida law, a person can be convicted of a theft if the person knowingly obtains, tries to obtain, or uses the property of another. The person can be convicted of theft even if the property is only taken for a temporary period, as was the case with the puppy. In addition, the person committing the theft must deprive the other person of the property. Penalties for Theft When a person is found guilty and convicted of theft in Florida, the penalty for committing the crime is determined by taking the cost of the item into account. For instance, if a person were to take  property that is worth $100,000 or more can be charged with a grand theft felony offense in the first degree. A person who is convicted of a grand theft in the first degree can be sent to jail for up to 30 years with a fine that could be up to $10,000. If the woman in the case ends up being charged and convicted, she could be charged with grand theft in the third degree, which is a felony. If convicted the woman can be charged with up to five years of probation or prison and a $5,000 fine. If a product costs less than $300 but more than $100 then the person can be charged with petit theft. This is a first-degree misdemeanor that is punishable by a prison sentence of no less than one year and a fine of up to $1000. If the theft is worth less than $100, then the person will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. If a person has a record for committing more than one misdemeanor, then the person will be charged with a more serious charge. Next Steps When a person is charged with theft, although it may seem like a less severe charge than a murder, it should still be taken seriously. A criminal record can have a major effect on a person’s future. Our attorneys at Moses and Rooth understand how important it is to take your future into account when preparing their legal defense. Please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule your free consultation by calling 407-377-0150.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

Shoplifting and Theft Crimes in Florida

Shoplifting and retail fraud is a $44 billion industry, according to a recent report between the University of Florida and the National Retail Federation. Shoplifting offenses range from stealing a candy bar to stealing expensive jewelry, or even a pet, as this Florida woman learned the hard way. Retail fraud can involve price switching (changing price tags to ring up at a lower price) or shoplifting and attempting to return the items for store credit or cash. Regardless of what and how much is being taken from a store, theft is a very serious offense in the State of Florida, especially for repeat offenders. Florida Shoplifting & Theft Laws Most theft crimes fall under the purview of “petit theft” (colloquially known as “petty theft”). A person will be charged with petty theft when the value of the item(s) stolen is between $100 and $300. Petty theft, for a first time offender, is a misdemeanor. Stealing items valued at $300 or more is considered “grand theft” and is a felony. The law categorizes the “degree” of felonies based on the value of the property stolen, ranging from $300-$20,000, with even more stringent punishments being applied after that amount. These punishments and categorizations change depending on whether goods are stolen from a retailer, a person’s house, or whether some other form of personal property has been taken (a car from the street, a cell phone from the gym). Heightened Theft Crimes According to Florida law, stealing certain types of items is considered grand theft also, even if the amount of stolen goods does not exceed $300. Stealing the following items is considered grand theft: Stop sign Firearm Motor vehicle Farm animal Fire extinguisher Will, codicil or testamentary document Controlled substances Interestingly, it is also grand theft to steal “any amount of citrus fruit consisting of 2,000 or more individual pieces of fruit” and “anhydrous ammonia,” though most individuals charged with theft crimes steal clothing, food items, or basic needs items. This list demonstrates that stealing something “for fun” can lead to serious consequences—even if you think taking a stop sign down for your college dorm room is a fun thing to do. Stealing any item, whether it be from a local store, big box retailer, or even a friend, can have serious legal consequences. Hiring an Orlando, Florida Shoplifting Defense Attorney Most shoplifters are relatively young and generally steal for “fun”, not due to necessity. At Moses & Rooth, we understand that people make mistakes. We will never judge our clients for making a bad call; as former prosecutors, we have seen these cases from both sides of the table, providing us with the insight necessary to navigate your case from start to finish. Our knowledgeable shoplifting defense attorneys understand that you do not deserve one misstep to jeopardize your career or professional reputation. Let us help you keep your shoplifting charges off of your record and minimize the potential damage before it is too late. Contact our Orlando office as soon as you have been charged with theft; we are always available for our clients.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

The Serious Consequences of Identity Theft and Fraud

Gone are the days when our identities were protected so long as we had our wallet and identification on us. Thieves do not even need our state-issued IDs to steal our identity or our plastic to get our credit card numbers in the digital age. Thieves can now collect more than just this information about us—they can take unemployment benefits we are not entitled to and other state and federal benefits. Florida has been facing such a large amount of fraudulent schemes that the state has had to implement new programs to oversee fraudulent actions—actions that can lead to hefty jail sentences and federal or state charges for those caught. Identity Theft Identity theft is literally taking someone’s identity. This can be either a state or federal crime that can include everything from opening or closing accounts, engaging in mortgage or insurance fraud, forging signatures and/or information, to utilizing a Social Security number to receive government benefits to which you are not entitled. Unlawful receipt of unemployment benefits is a relatively new phenomenon in Florida that is starting to become monitored closely. People are usurping personal information from public entities such as hospitals and schools and then applying for (and often receiving) unemployment benefits before there is an opportunity for verification. An estimated $5.6 billion of taxpayers’ money has been shelled out in these fraudulent schemes, although an estimated 97,000 fraudulent claims have been identified and stopped due to the oversight of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, according to a recent CNN article. Credit Card Fraud Credit card fraud is also a serious crime; individuals found guilty of credit card fraud in Florida can be subject to mandatory jail time per Florida law. You may have started taking credit card number from customers at work, gotten them from the internet, stolen them from a friend or family member, or used a card or card number without permission. Credit card fraud extends beyond the use of the physical card and can include typing the card number in online to make purchases or payments. By utilizing another person’s credit card online and authenticating it as your own, you may have also committed identity theft. Robbery and Burglary These are often underlying offenses that lead to charges of identity theft and or credit card fraud. Robbery is taking from a person and burglary is taking from a person’s home. If you do either of these things and obtain personal information such as names, account numbers, bank or credit card numbers or other similar information that you use to gain a benefit, you may be charged with offenses in addition to robbery and burglary that may lead to even greater punishments, including federal charges. Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Defense Lawyers Using a credit card without permission or using someone’s identification without their knowledge is a serious crime both under Florida and federal law. If you have been charged with any crime regarding fraud, it is important to formulate a defense early before it is too late. The best thing you can do once you have been charged with a crime involving fraud in Florida is to contact an experienced Florida theft and fraud defense attorney. As former prosecutors at Moses & Rooth, we know the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and how it works on both sides. The knowledgeable attorneys at our Orlando office will ensure that your rights are protected and every avenue of your defense is properly explored.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Theft

When Theft Becomes Grand Theft

Being arrested for theft may constitute a bad day, but the day becomes much worse if the charge is for grand theft. Ultimately, the severity of punishment for a felony grand theft is substantially worse than being convicted for petit theft. If you have been charged with grand theft or petit theft, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law.   Theft Under Florida statute 812.04, a person commits theft if the person knowingly obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or to use, the property of another with intent to, either temporarily or permanently: Deprive the other person of a right to the property or a benefit from the property; or Appropriate the property to the person’s own use or to the use of any person not entitled to the use of the property. If the property stolen has a value less than $300 then the theft is a petit theft and not a grand theft. A first offense petit theft is a misdemeanor of the second degree. For a first offense of petit theft the punishment is up to 60 days in prison and a $500 fine. A second offense of petit theft is a first-degree misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to one year and fines up to $1,000. If a third offense of petit theft is committed the severity of the punishment increases greatly and the charge becomes a third-degree felony instead of a misdemeanor. A third-degree felony can carry up to a five-year prison sentence and fines up to $5,000.   Grand Theft of the First Degree Under Florida statute 812.14, grand theft can be a first-degree felony carrying a prison sentence up to 30 years and fines up to $10,000. To be convicted of grand theft in the first degree a person must commit a theft involving: Property valued at $100,000 or more; A semitrailer deployed by law enforcement; Cargo valuing $50,000 or more that entered interstate or intrastate commerce; A grand theft where the offender uses a motor vehicle (other than the getaway vehicle) to assist in committing the offense and causes damage to the real property of another; or Grand theft that involves $1,000 or more of property damages.   Grand Theft of the Second Degree Grand theft of the second degree is a second-degree felony carrying a prison sentence up to 15 years and up to $10,000 in fines. Grand theft of the second degree must involve: Property valued between $20,000 and $100,000; Cargo valued at less than $50,000 that entered interstate or intrastate commerce; Emergency medical equipment valued at $300 or more stolen from a licensed facility; or Law enforcement equipment valued at $300 or more stolen from an authorized emergency vehicle.   Grand Theft of the Third Degree Grand theft of the third degree is a third-degree felony carrying a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine up to $5,000. Grand theft of the third degree must involve: Property valued between $300 and $20,000; or Will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument; Firearm; Motor vehicle; Fire extinguisher; Stop sign; Certain animals; Anhydrous ammonia; or A controlled substance. Being convicted of a grand theft rather than a theft could mean the difference between a misdemeanor conviction and a felony conviction. A trained defense attorney may be able to get the charges dropped or plead your case down to a lesser charge. If you have been arrested for a theft or a grand theft, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses & Rooth for help.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Burglary

Theft, Robbery, and Burglary; What is the Difference?

Charges for theft, robbery, and burglary all involve the taking of another’s property, though the charges vary by how and where the activity took place. Being convicted of any of the above can bring serious penalties and long-term consequences, such as the possibility of future employment. If you have been charged with theft, robbery, or burglary, the experienced criminal defense attorneys of Moses and Rooth can provide a defense and help you put this behind you. Theft According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), a theft is committed every minute in Florida. Theft is the unauthorized taking or use of another’s property, including larceny, stealing, misappropriation, conversion, and other offenses. The value of the property determines if the theft is a petit theft or grand theft. Most cases of shoplifting are considered petit theft. Under Florida Statute 812.014, the theft will generally be a petit theft if the property taken was valued between $100 and $300 and not taken from a dwelling. Petit theft is a misdemeanor. For property taken valuing over $300 the theft will generally be a grand theft and a felony either in the first, second, or third degree, depending on the value of the property, whether a vehicle was used during the commission of the theft, or if any property damage occurred because of the theft. Robbery According to the FDLE, a robbery happens every 22 minutes. A robbery is when a person takes money or property from another person with intent to permanently or temporarily deprive that person of the money or property by force, violence, assault, or fear. Burglary According to the FDLE, a burglary occurs every three minutes in Florida. A person can be charged with burglary if the person enters or remains in a building with the intent to commit a crime. Burglary is a felony of the first, second, or third degree depending on the circumstances. Under Florida Statute 810.02, burglary is a felony of the third degree if the offender does not commit an assault, battery, carry a weapon, or explosive, and there is not another person within the structure or conveyance burglarized. Burglary is a felony of the second degree if the offender does not commit an assault, battery, carry a weapon, or explosive, but there is another person in the dwelling entered or remained in, remains in a dwelling where there is not another person, or there is another person in a structure or conveyance burglarized. Burglary is a felony of the first degree if the offender commits an assault or battery, becomes armed within the dwelling, structure, or conveyance with a weapon or explosive, uses a motor vehicle other than for a getaway vehicle, or causes over $1,000 worth of property damage to the dwelling, structure, or conveyance. Defenses to burglary include arguing that the building was open to the public or you had an invitation or license to be there. Whether you are charged with theft, robbery, or burglary all can carry serious repercussions and long-term consequences. If you have been charged with a theft, robbery, or burglary, contact the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Moses and Rooth in Florida for the best possible defense and for a chance to move past this difficult point in your life.

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